Friday February 8, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Matt Sanborn scored a game-high 23 points, including a dozen in the final quarter, to lead the MSJ boys basketball team to a 57-48 victory over Brattleboro on Thursday night at BUHS.

Brattleboro’s game looked somewhat like their previous matchup, when they hosted Rutland earlier this week. A strong first quarter, followed by a weak second half, and missed opportunities in the fourth.

The noticeable difference this time around was the spirit of the fans.

Over 50 BUHS students sported graffiti-inspired, stenciled, graphic t-shirts that read "Rest Easy Jim," in honor of James K. Evans Jr., the popular and well respected Brattleboro Union High School student who lost his life Tuesday evening.

A somber moment of silence was held for Evans before the game, as all those in attendence paid respects to the young man, who died in a car accident.

The Colonels kept MSJ scoreless for most of the first quarter, giving Brattleboro an 11-4 advantage when it was over. Chris McAuliffe put in the game’s first hoop, Isaac Roach splashed a 3 (and made it look easy), and Tyler Higley nailed a jumper at the buzzer. Roach was the Colonels’ top earner, with 11 points. He and McAuliffe had five total defensive rebounds each.

MSJ surged in the second quarter, with Jahnathan Mitchell scoring 10 points, and Zachary Lanzillo draining a trio of 3’s. Mitchell had 18 points total and Lanzillo had 13.

Brattleboro’s Kyle Patno had a nice spin move underneath, for a deuce, in the second, while Tyler Higley went to work to score six points. Patno had six total points and four rebounds. Higley totaled 10 points and nine bounds, on defense.

Jackson Batchelder had six points and seven defensive bounds, but really stood out from the crowd with five steals.

Brattleboro ran into foul trouble in the second quarter, as Matt Sanborn got MSJ ahead 28-23 with charity shots, before the break.

The Colonel team battled back in the third, with Batchelder, Higley, and Roach setting up plays to the inside. Roach tossed a few in off the glass, while teammates Sam Seigel dished passes down low to McAuliffe, who scored six points in his best quarter. McAuliffe tied it up, 39-39, with 35 seconds on the clock.

In the fourth quarter, MSJ relied heavily on Sanborn. The 6-5 forward buried 12 points and had few steals to get the Mounties ahead. Sanborn led his team with 23 points.

And Sanborn and Mitchell kept them ahead for a while, until Batchelder made a steal that turned into a breakaway bucket. Batchelder also set up an effective play with Roach, who passed it inside to Patno, who had a sweet pump fake and one off the backboard.

The shootout didn’t last long though, as MSJ’s Lanzillo hit a 3 to go up, 51-48, and Brattleboro missed four shots in a row. Then Mitchell’s two makes from the line gave the visitors a five-point lead, with 1:30 left in regulation. MSJ was 20-of-28 from the foul line. The Colonels desperately tried to go deep, but couldn’t close the gap.

David Aquino can be reached at daquino@reformer.com, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.